You know Back 4 Blood, the new game from Left 4 Dead developers Turtle Rock that is positioning itself as the true Left 4 Dead successor to the extent that they even borrowed the title’s prominent numerical for its own game. It is, in no subtle way, Turtle Rock stating that Left 4 Dead fans can expect to pick up right where they left off with Back 4 Blood — except for one of the previous game’s most popular modes, Versus Campaign.
In Left 4 Dead and the sequel Left 4 Dead 2, Versus Campaign was a multiplayer mode where a lot of players spent their time after playing through the regular campaigns. In Versus Campaign, two teams of four players each play through the game’s campaign maps, with the Survivors trying to make it to the end and the Special Infected trying to stop them. One team plays as Survivors, then it changes to the other team to make a go of it. It was endlessly enjoyable and decidedly unique, keeping players on Left 4 Dead for years beyond its release. Everyone kind of assumed this would also be the case for Back 4 Blood.
According to the developers, not so.
On the Turtle Rock Studios Discord, where fans and developers both hang out, Turtle Rock has confirmed in recent days that Campaign Versus won’t make it into Back 4 Blood. They’ve been asked so often, that “WHERE IS MY CAMPAIGN VERSUS MODE?????” has somewhat aggressively been added to the Frequently Asked Questions channel in the Discord, with “We do not have plans to have a campaign versus mode at this time” as the answer.
Turtle Rock’s reasoning for this is that Back 4 Blood’s Special Infected are a focused on ambushing more than slowing down or stopping. Similarly, Survivors specialize in defensive equipment. This balance meant that trying to see who could get further in a stage doesn’t work quite as well. Which is fine and fair and it’s their game to make. I just think it’s a deal breaker, personally.
I’ve played a lot of Left 4 Dead. A lot. Over 1000 hours of it. I’d estimate about 99% of that time was spent in Versus Campaign. While replacing that mode with a horde mode makes some sense for the game’s balance, it also removes a unique mode without much competition in the marketplace with a fairly rote one alongside six or seven games that are also doing the same kinds of campaign maps.
The beta itself has enjoyed quite a bit of success and I’m happy for the game, but I think what it doesn’t do makes my decision not to partake easier. Back 4 Blood releases on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One & Series S|X, and PC on October 12.